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The Young Child's Memory For Words: Developing First and Second Language and Literacy.

THE YOUNG CHILD'S MEMORY FOR WORDS: Developing First and Second Language and Literacy. Daniel R. Meier. New York: Teachers College Press, 2004. 147 pp. Paperback, $18.95. "Powerful literacy teaching is teaching for memory" (p. 4). With this statement, Daniel R. Meier presents a rationale for utilizing memory to develop first- and second-language literacy. This book provides a combination of useful strategies and ideas that promote reading and writing, using programs and philosophies that focus on preschool and kindergarten children. The notion is that children's memories for literacy and language are developed through association, interaction, and scaffolding in a supportive learning environment.

Meier presents ways to utilize children's talents and artistic abilities as a means of fostering memories for literacy. Each chapter begins with questions to guide teaching and learning and closes with "Suggested Activities" for teachers; references and resources are listed by chapter. Between the questions and activities are innovative ways to build and increase language and literacy at home and in multilingual classrooms. For instance, Chapter 4 focuses on building literacy through the use of the alphabet and books, and Chapter 5 integrates drawing and writing to promote classroom community.

Meier includes children's sketches with dictation and quotations by children interacting in his public and private preschool and elementary classrooms. Additional examples are provided by Meier's preschool and kindergarten teaching colleagues. The children in the examples are from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Meier's approach to language moves beyond the current literacy standards to emphasize "a journey of memory--of experiencing languages out in the world of action and sound, and then simultaneously seeing and feeling language become an intimate part of how children think and feel and create" (p. 32).

Lisa Rodriguez, 6th-grade

teacher, Stanley G. Oswalt Elementary

School, Walnut, CA
COPYRIGHT 2004 Association for Childhood Education International
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Author:Rodriguez, Lisa
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 22, 2004
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